By Roslyn Lo
When it comes to full service real estate, Julia Segal is truly at the heart of the business.
The 26-year-old New Jersey native can find you the ideal apartment in a neighborhood you adore. With a deli serving your favorite coffee and bagels on the corner, a cozy restauarnt within your price range and a gym down the block, you’re all set … or are you?
Once you’ve moved in, organized your futon and queen-sized bed, then gotten your TV and Internet hooked up, those four freshly-painted walls can feel pretty lonely if your inbox is empty and Match.com has paired you up with a mechanic from Bushwick who enjoys “walks on the beach” and is searching for that special lady he can share a joke with.
But all is not lost.
Seagal takes the search for home — and all of its comforts — one step further with her booming speed dating service, “The Internet Killed Your Social Skills,” or IKYSS.
“[My event] gives young people a venue they can meet people,” explained Segal, an agent at Miron Properties whose reputation as a New York matchmaker is growing faster than Britney Spears’ hair.
“It’s really relaxed, laid back, and it takes the pressure off. It’s not like other speed-dating events — the crowd is little younger, hipper, more with it. Everything is designed to be smooth, including the bar and the music. It’s in a popular venue, it’s free and it’s casual.”
A natural social butterfly, Segal came up with the speed dating idea to remedy the limitations of the Internet age, where people rarely meet face to face. Despite the prevalence of online dating sites matching couples based on a written list of criteria, she believes true chemistry is sparked in person, not in a chat room.
At IKYSS, singles get together on the first Thursday of every month at the Macri Park Bar in Williamsburg.
The premise is simple: singles have the the length of time it takes for a song to play to talk face-to-face before moving on to the next date. Once the night is over, everyone fills out cards listing the people that caught their eye — and their attention — then Segal brings the matches together.
“When it comes to dating, I just bring people there,” said the agent. “It’s on them to do the rest.”
While the Internet may well be to blame for the collapse of old-fashioned courting, Segal is the first to admit that new technology has been a boon to the modern real estate business.
She said she joined Miron Properties — a growing firm that prides itself in its use of innovative marketing technologies — in part because it has embraced the Internet and all of its uses.
“Miron is more with it than most in this industry,” she said. “You have to be progressive and keep up with the times and the use of new technology allows me to be myself and have a business that can grow.
“This is the world we live in, this is how we connect with people.”
And while the Brooklyn resident is critical of society’s reliance on forging relationships online rather than in person, she said the power of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools in indisputable.
“At Miron, it really puts us ahead of the game,” she said. “Denying technology is doing yourself and your customers a disservice.”
With a B.A. in journalism from SUNY Purchase, Segal worked in sales, writing and hospitality before joining Miron, where she specializes with rentals in areas such as Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Her current listings include a one-bedroom on 623 Grand Avenue and a $1.39 million, 7-bedroom Freeman Street property in Greenpoint.
Much like her side-business, she believes matching people with homes requires knowledge, intuition, and a little flare for the romantic.
“You have to get to know your clients, help them find the specific property they want. In real estate, we’re in this together, so let’s make it happen!”
In the quest to unite two unknown quantities, Segal has enjoyed success on both the romantic and business fronts, building up her listings while expanding her IKYSS clientele. Following the June 24 passage of New York’s Marriage Equality Act, she’s planning to include same-sex singles in the monthly get-togethers.
And, for apartment hunters everywhere still searching for “the one,” she offers a big beacon of hope in the city.
By Roslyn Lo